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World Cinema Series: Kalpana

When 12 November 2013 (Tuesday), 7.30pm
Where National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897

Free admission but members only -- flash your membership card to go in. You may bring up to 2 guests if you hold a SFS Reel membership card. Non-members may sign up online or at the door -- we will issue membership on the spot. No tickets will be sold. Free seating.



Director: Uday Shankar

1948 / India / 155 min / Digibeta / Rating TBC

In Hindi with English subtitles


Image courtesy of World Cinema Foundation


Upon the closure of his dance academy in the early 40s, Uday Shankar, an iconic figure in the history of Indian dance, and the brother of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, spent five years preparing and making his only film which has since become one of the stunning highlights of Indian Cinema.


Kalpana is an autobiographical film about a dancer who yearns to set up his dance company, and ultimately, a cultural centre dedicated to the development of different art forms in support of the country’s cultural heritage amidst a rising political consciousness with the independence of India.


Dance is not just featured on the level of content in Kalpana. It is the defining logic that pervades and resonates through the very construction of the film – a flowing stream of expressionism and imagination that weaves in multiplying narrative trails and a record number of 82 dance sequences which spans and fuses a myriad of traditional, mystical and modern practices. Each dance carries symbolic weight, some conveying the characters’ states of mind and some dropping trenchant social critique.


Kalpana is an unparalleled experiment which united the worlds of cinema and dance into a mesmerising and singular work of art. With the use of close-ups, montage, superimpositions possible with cinema, Uday locates the middle strata between both mediums whereby cinema enables the framing of bodily pulsations and movements impossible in a live setting, just as dance influences the rhythmic editing of the film which discharges hallucinatory flows that weave in the inner experience of the dancer through the contours of reality as it symbolically meditates upon on the life and role of the artist in society.


This screening is made possible with the partnership of